Mazda RT24-Ps led the way at the Roar Before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway two weeks ago when drivers Oliver Jarvis and Harry Tincknell set the quickest lap times in the weekend’s qualifying session. Jarvis, Tincknell, and the rest of Mazda Team Joest are seeking a similar result when the checkered flag falls on Sunday for the 57th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
At the Roar Before the 24, Jarvis’ time of 1:33.398 seconds around the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course in the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P unofficially set the course record and capped a strong weekend for Mazda Team Joest where both Mazda RT24-Ps took turns at the top of the timesheets. Jarvis will share the car with Timo Bernhard, Tristan Nunez, and Rene Rast.
The drivers and crew of Mazda Team Joest have one goal in mind, which is to return Mazda to victory lane at Daytona for the first time since 2010 when a Mazda captured the GT-class. Jonathan Bomarito, who will drive the No. 55 Castrol Mazda RT24-P with Harry Tincknell and Olivier Pla was part of the driver lineup that took that Castrol-sponsored Mazda RX-8 to victory.
Mazda first captured victory at the Rolex 24 at Daytona 40 years ago, when the new Mazda RX-7 finished first and second in the GTU class and since then, Mazdas have captured twenty-two class victories at Daytona.
The qualifying session for the Rolex 24 at Daytona will be shown live on NBC Sports on Thursday, January 24 at 3:00 PM EST. Starting at 2:00 PM EST on Saturday, January 26, the Rolex 24 at Daytona will be shown in its entirely on NBC Sports Network and the NBC Sports App.
John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports
“In the winter of 1979, I watched the television highlights of the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the racing debut of the Mazda RX-7. That GTU class win 40 years ago this year marked a very special moment for me personally as my bond with the Mazda brand began. To achieve that victory in 1979 was an incredible effort made by Mazda engineers around the globe, and was a clear example of our brand’s challenger spirit. As we have prepared for the 2019 Rolex 24 at Daytona, there has been an equally massive effort by our team and partners with the sole focus of having success for Mazda, our fans, dealers, and employees worldwide. The results from the Roar Before the 24 were a good way to start the month, and we want nothing more than to end the month in the same positions.”
No. 55 Castrol Mazda RT24-P
“I am really excited and optimistic about this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. We have been preparing extensively over the short off-season and ended 2018 with a double podium, so we have continued that momentum into 2019. I have been with Mazda for a long time now and this is the best I’ve felt going into Daytona for quite some time. With it being IMSA’s 50th anniversary, winning overall for Mazda would be a dream come true!”
“After a very positive test at the Roar Before the 24, we are going to Daytona knowing we have a very quick car to fight for the top position. It will be the 50th anniversary of IMSA, and Mazda has scored 22 class wins in Daytona, and I think all of the Mazda drivers will put their heart into the battle and will push to the limit to get Mazda back into victory lane in Daytona.”
“I believe this is Mazda’s best chance in recent history to win the Rolex 24 at Daytona outright. Obviously, there have been a huge amount of changes implemented over the winter and it will take time for everything to gel but the Roar Before the 24 showed a brief glimpse of what’s to come for us this season. We were super competitive there, setting the fastest times throughout all three days. We know that pace alone won’t win the race. Daytona is an incredible test of endurance and teamwork and we have to prove to everyone that we have the full package, but I honestly can’t thank Mazda Team Joest, Multimatic or AER enough for all their hard work over the winter. We will give it everything we have!”
No. 77 Mazda RT24-P
“I have a good feeling going into race week for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. We have a strong package – car, driver, and team. But, I’m also sure it will be a tight competition for the top spot, which will be great to watch for all the fans of the 50th anniversary of IMSA. And as always entering these 24-hour races, you need a bit of luck as well. All of Mazda Team Joest and the partners involved in this program have worked very hard to enter two competitive cars. Let’s get the success that they all deserve!”
“I am definitely heading into this year with a lot more optimism than last. I have always had 100% faith in Mazda Team Joest, but last year we were definitely not where we wanted to be. We continue to learn and progress but having had a year of working together and constantly improving not only reliability but also performance, I think we head into this year’s race knowing we have a package capable of fighting for the win. It’s fantastic to be working again with Tristan, we had such a great relationship last year both on and off the track with his undoubted speed, I hope we can add some wins to the podiums we achieved last year! I would relish the chance to try and officially beat the lap record and start the Rolex 24 at Daytona from pole position.”
“I can’t explain how excited I am to be going to the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Daytona is always a special event, but with how the team has been working together and the success that we had at the Roar Before the 24, I’m really looking forward to getting into the race with our Mazda RT24-P. The car is working great, I am fortunate to have great co-drivers, and the team has really done an outstanding job.”
“I can’t wait till the flag drops on Saturday morning and we can finally start racing. The whole project has taken a massive step forward since last year and our Mazda RT24-P looks very competitive this year. The pace we had during the Roar Before the 24 looks promising and we all hope that we can continue where we ended up in the qualifying session. The main objective is to win the Rolex 24 at Daytona overall. The whole team has put a lot of work and effort into this project and I could really feel a great team spirit during the test. It would be a tremendous feeling to win at Daytona during the 50thAnniversary of IMSA, but we all need to stay focused and avoid any kind of mistakes.”